Turnstone

Shards, Sweepings, Stealings, Sayings, Secrets

Month: January, 2010

Life And Things

“Use Things to gain Life. Don´t use Life to gain Things.” Lao Tzu

(Found on a rain-soaked piece of paper left on the pilgrim path between Mérida and Aljucén, Spain. It was written in German, so I´ve translated it.)

Grateful For Alaska

One of my favourite books ever is Edward Abbey‘s Desert Solitaire, which recounts his three seasons as a park ranger in south-eastern Utah. It’s angry, it’s sensitive, it’s blunt, it’s thought-provoking, it’s contradictory, it’s anguished, it’s mystical, it’s philosophical, it’s poetic. Here are a few short quotations I jotted down while reading it:

“The best of all sauces is hunger.”

“Earth… the only paradise we ever need.”

“Wilderness is not a luxury… but a necessity of the human spirit.”

“I may never in my life get to Alaska… but I’m grateful that it’s there.”

“I am my own best companion.”

“There is only paradox; the incontrovertible union of contradictory truths.”

“Each thing, true to its nature, is equally beautiful.”

“Wilderness is a necessary part of civilization.”

“We are learning finally that our forests and mountains and desert canyons are holier than our churches.”

“Man is a gregarious creature – not a herd animal.”

“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”

“Only rock is real.”

“Get out of your cars and walk!”

“The itch for naming things is almost as bad as the itch for possessing things.”

If these quotations strike a chord, and you don’t know Desert Solitaire, I do urge you to lay your hands on a copy. First published in 1968, it’s still gloriously stimulating and relevant.